Book Review: I Call Him Mr. President

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, September 9th, 2017


PGA Club Professional Ken Raynor along with renowed author
Michael Patrick Shiels have written a terrific new book called I Call
Him Mr. President. Ken Raynor has been the head professional at Cape
Arundel Golf Club located in Kennebunkport, Maine for the past 38
years. During the winter months he resides down south at the Coral
Creek Club in Placida, Florida.
Ken has the dubious distinction of likely to have played more
rounds of golf with the President of the United States than anyone in
history. Raynor along with Shiels peels back the curtain to reveal a
fascinating perspective and intimate look into our 41st President
George H.W. Bush….one that has never been seen or heard of before.
Raynor became known as “the President’s Pro”, or, as Geoff Hobson
wrote in the Portland Press Herald,“Secretary of Swing.”
The book chronicles an amazing friendship between the golf
professional and the President delving into their unique personal
relationship that has lasted for decades on and off the golf course.
When asked why he wrote the book Raynor replied, “Those who know
about my forty-year association with the Bush family have been saying
for years that I should ‘write a book’, or ‘share those experiences’
or ‘love that story’….so here it is!”
Raynor recalls first meeting Mr. Bush when he was the
Vice-President under Ronald Reagan and was seeking the Republican
nomination for president. According to Raynor the President has quite
a sense of humor and mentioned in the book about the time on the first
tee the President called out to everyone, “I am hereby instilling
‘Rule 35-4!” As a PGA Professional Raynor knew that there were only 34
rules. The president jokingly informed them all that, “Rule 35-4 is
the No Laughing Rule.”
Also, it turns out our 41st president loves golf gadgets and
contraptions as well as exploding golf balls.
In the Preface, Raynor captured the essence of his book with a
statement by the President that summed up one of the reasons golf was
important to him.
Bush said, “You can learn a lot about a person by playing a
round of golf with them or standing in a river casting a fly shoulder
to shoulder.”
The book does a great job of showcasing Ken’s personal
interactions watching president Bush relaxing, getting away from the
daily high level stress of running the country, and how important it
was to have some precious downtime from the job.
In reading the book I learned that Kennebunkport became known as
the president’s “Anchor to Windward,” a phrase denoting his time with
family and friends… a place to decompress.
Raynor states the he learned numerous life lessons from
president Bush. The President told him many times, “It’s just as easy
to say ‘yes’ as it is to say ’no’ as he witnessed hundreds of times as
people stood behind security after a round of golf, hoping to get a
picture, autograph, or handshake with the leader of the free world.
In a chapter titled Desperate Diplomacy I learned that the Bushes
are big proponents of punctuality. Raynor wrote about the first time
he and his wife Anne were invited to the Bushes’ home for a dinner
party. He described how they were the first to arrive, and Mrs. Bush
appeared truly delighted to see them when they walked into her living
room. Raynor stated, “It turns out if your are ever invited to the
Bushes home at 6:00 pm., being fashionably late” is not fashionable at
all. To the Bushes, if you’re five minutes early you’re right on
I enjoyed the chapter where he talked about hosting the
President and first lady at their home for dinner. I found out that
the president isn’t a fan of broccoli.
Raynor also writes about the time he and his wife were invited
to spend the night at the White House and they got to sleep in the
Lincoln bedroom.
Ken Raynor is a fortunate guy that happened to be working at a
golf club the president frequented and they became great friends.
President Bush had a big impact and made an indelible impression on
his life, but I think the president was an equal recipient from their
lasting friendship that endures today. Raynor added that he always
thought of the man he called partner on the golf course as his second
Sprinkled throughout the book are numerous heartfelt anecdotes
written by well know politicians, celebrities, and PGA Tour players
each expressing how highly they regard the president and the impact he
has had on their lives.
As a golf professional this book really resonated with me. It’s
a terrific read and if you’re a golfer or a fan of our 41st president
I highly recommend you check it out. The book published by Skyhorse
publishing is 188 pages and chocked full of never before seen
photographs of President Bush in casual settings with friends.
Tom Ward can be contacted at


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